Halted Evolution


Driving home from work today, listening to the radio as per usual, the wonders of Radio 5 live. The news came on, nothing different there of course, this happens every day. A story which I didn’t expect to hear was all about evolution. I know I know, not a new subject, in fact it has been around a fairly long time. Anyway…

… the story, was all about how evolution has come to a halt. This sparked me as strange, one minded, and off the mark. Prof Steve Jones argues that the Western world is as close to Utopia as it can and will get, that humans are 10,000 times more common than they should be and that if all accidents and diseases were abolished that life expectancy will only go up by 2 years. However nice these facts sound, there appears to be absolutely no backing for them, at least nothing published.

Here’s my two pence, the “commonness” argument is put down to agriculture and without farming the world population would be that of Glasgow. To shun this, surely we have evolved to use farming in this way and prosper as a species…? Therefore totally contradicting his own argument? That’s the first thing that instantly hit me when listening / reading this report. I also can’t see how the chances for genetic alterations have decreased in the current global climate. As the world shrinks (communication, transport etc) there can only be new genetic “opportunities” coming up.

I’m not the only one who thinks this is a little off the mark, check out Laurence Moran on Sandwalk.

You can read a summary of the Prof’s comments here.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Andy  •  Oct 12, 2008 @4:48 pm

    I agree with the Prof, although he has got the definition of evolution wrong as many of the comments on Sandwall say. If the point he was trying to make was that we were unlikely to become super-duper beings then that’s probably true. I personally think he’s right about death no longer being a factor making us change, apart from some examples in the developing world. Then you have to ask what genes make us more likely to have lots of babies? Is it the genes that make us binge drink on new year’s eve – after all there are a lot of early September births…

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